By Luke Reid, Sports Information Director
A spectacular season for both men’s and women’s basketball came to an end last weekend. Both teams made it to the NCAA Championship Tournament West Regional, held in Bellingham, Washington. The women battled to the end against Cal State Monterey Bay, while the men played against Cal Poly Pomona.
The Chico State men’s basketball team walked off the floor for the final time in 2012–2013 Friday, March 15, in all-too-familiar fashion—with a loss at the hands of Cal Poly Pomona. The fifth-ranked Broncos beat the Wildcats for the fourth time this season, 69-61, in the opening round of the NCAA championships.
“They’re a good team,” said Wildcats Head Coach Greg Clink. “We’ve taken our best shot at them four times.”
And the Wildcats’ best shot brought them excruciatingly close to victory: Sims sank a 3-pointer with 6:09 left that gave Chico State a 53-51 lead. A Sean Park jumper with 4:39 left again stretched Chico State’s lead to two.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Mitchel Anderson, the MVP of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), sank a 3-pointer on the Broncos’ ensuing possession to give them the lead for good.
Friday’s game marked the final appearance for Chico State seniors Damario Sims, Jason Conrad, Spencer Moyer, James Staniland ,and Jake Lovisolo.
“Those five guys have helped take this program to a new level,” said Clink. “I can’t tell you how proud I am to have had the opportunity to coach them. It’s just a special group.”
Sims scored 21 points in his final game with the Wildcats, Rashad Parker added 15, and Jordan Semple scored 12. Chico State finished the season with a record of 19-11.
The women had a very similar experience the following day, coming tantalizingly close to a win in the opening round of the NCAA championships.
The lead changed hands 15 times that Saturday night. For a bit, it looked as if the 14th time would be the last. But the Wildcats missed their final five shots and committed two turnovers down the stretch.
Miller nearly stopped the bleeding with a nifty spin move on Chico State’s next possession, but her layup spun off the rim with 30 seconds left, setting up the Otters for Jefferson’s game-winning shot.
Cal State Monterey Bay scored the game’s final 10 points to beat the Wildcats women 66-64.
“We just needed another four-tenths of a second, and we’d still be playing,” said Brian Fogel, women’s head coach.
Jazmine Miller led the Wildcats with 16 points and Monnie Davidson-Mays scored 11 and grabbed four steals. Courtney Hamilton finished with nine points, five rebounds and three assists. Synchro Bull chipped in eight points.
“I’m extremely proud of my team,” said Fogel. “I’ve coached for a long time, and this is one of the most enjoyable groups I’ve ever had.”
The Chico State women’s basketball team, winner of the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s regular season title, finished its season with a record of 23-6.
“We’re a very unselfish team,” said Miller. “We worked hard for each other every day. It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball.”
Now back home, Fogel and Clink are busy putting the final touches on next year’s recruiting classes. Though they’re both excited about their returning talent and already signed freshmen classes, they’re always on the lookout for the special talent that can help them get back into the NCAA Championship Tournament, and perhaps help them make a run at an NCAA title.
For more athletic news and schedules visit http://www.chicowildcats.com/